July 19, 2009

Is it Friday already?

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(Note: "True Colors" is this space's NCAA column designed to have a slant, but not necessarily bias, toward schools other than that one located in Mendiola. --Howard the Duck)

So we are nearing the mid-way point of the first round of eliminations, and we've probably seen a bit of trending with the teams:

At the top of the pack: JRU, San Sebastian and San Beda
At the middle of the road: Letran
Not that far behind: CSB, Mapua and Arellano
The rear: UPHSD, EAC, AUF

And not to be outdone, Juniors' action will pick up a notch as a potential game between undefeated teams looms ahead between the Squires and the Red Cubs.

Top of the pack: JRU, San Sebastian and San Beda
These three will fight foot and nail for the two twice to beat berths in the semifinals, and even if the #2 has the twice to beat advantage over #3 it won't be easy. So while it is said that there is no virtual difference between #1 and #2, this year, the race for #1 will be hotly contested by these three teams, as the #1 will avoid the other two, at least up to the Finals.

Despite winning against San Beda, Baste seems to be the weakest among the three since the Generals were able to cut the lead to a "dozen" with less than 5 minutes remaining. Or maybe that was just the A-Bomb pulling out his starters early. Or maybe that was it: a bad coaching decision might haunt you if you're playing a high-caliber team.

At the middle of the road: Letran
Sitting by their lonesome are the Letran Knights: It can be said that the first two games were bad loses, and will probably haunt the Knights if they fail to catch the top 3, but with big wins against Mapua and Perps, they can look forward to their Week 4 games vs. CSB and SBC. An (expected?) win against CSB will propel them to a 3-game winning streak enroute to their much-anticipated clash with the San Beda Red Lions on Friday. (Still no word yet if it'll be moved to the second game. Stay tuned.)

Not that far behind: CSB, Mapua and Arellano
These three suffered big time setbacks last week, all from top four teams: CSB vs. SBC (20 points), Mapua vs. Letran (22 points) and Arellano vs. JRU (9 points). Arellano made it worse with an even worse loss from one of the teams from the rear (10 points vs. UPHSD) leading some to say they caught Letran on a bad day.

The three teams will still face one of the teams from the top four in two weeks' time, if they win those, they can close the gap with Letran and make it a 4-team race for the last semifinal berth.

The rear: UPHSD, AUF, EAC
With Raffy Ynion out, an already grim outlook for the Perps got even bleaker, while AUF will have the toughest schedule among the three with their next four games will be against the top four. As for EAC, no one expected them to finish 0-18, and they might win one against the teams from the rear, but probably not from the other teams at the top.

Undefeated: Squires vs. Red Cubs
A certainly overlooked match-up, a potential game between undefeated teams (if Letran wins over LSGH on Monday) will set the juniors hoops world buzzing as the two old high school rivals reignite their rivalry. The now-attainment of the Squires as a "superpower" status in the NCAA ranks, while the Red Cubs are out to reclaim their lost crown as the top high school team in the land. If the Red Cubs stop Jarelan Tampus who has been scoring at will lately, the Bedans will have a close fight against the Letranites.

An almost-certain preview of the juniors' finals, both teams are hungry for a championship: the Squires have been in the Finals for 2 straight seasons, and last won in 2001 with then high school players Rey Guevarra, RJ Jazul, OJ Cua and Jay-R Reyes, while the Red Cubs last entered the finals in 2005, and last won in 2004 with Jay-R Taganas and Ogie Menor at the helm. A title will give a fitting send-off for graduating, and highly-prized players-turned-freshies next year.


  1. Squires has a very deep bench. Cubs can't win by just stopping MVP Tampus. The one and two punch of Tampus and Khobuntin will be too much for the Cubs. Expect the Squires to be undefeated this season. Arriba Letran!

  2. Squires still undefeated...ARRIBA LETRAN!


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